Category Archives: manuscript

Genres of Literature – Varsity or Campus Novel


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Although these two ‘titles’ are dependent on subject rather than genre, I have merged them into one. As you can see the definitions are very alike.

In a varsity or campus novel, the main action is set in and around the campus of a university.  The varsity novel focuses on the students rather than faculty, while the campus novel centers on the faculty. The novels are told from the viewpoint of a faculty member or, of course from a student’s point of view. The novels can be comic or satirical and often counterpoint intellectual pretensions and human weaknesses. These narrative are also called academic novels. The novels exploit the fictional possibilities created by the closed environment of the university, with idiosyncratic characters inhabiting unambiguous hierarchies. They may describe the reaction of a fixed socio-cultural perspective (the academic staff) to new social attitudes (the new student intake).

This genre is largely an Anglophone tradition. Mary McCarthy’s The Groves of Academe (1952)  is usually thought to be the first campus novel. However there are others predating that. Examples include Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited, Tom Sharpe’s Porterhouse Blue and Stephen Fry’s The Liar and Making History. 

Although the genre may seem limited because of the location, there are numerous characters to utilize with their backgrounds, personalities and ambitions enabling an author to create dozens of possibilities.

Do you have a varsity novel favorite?

Brideshead Revisited is mine by far, with it’s social expectations and damaging secrets.

 

 

 

 

Author Interview Sarah Nachin


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sarah

  1. Does writing energize or exhaust you?

Writing definitely energizes me. I get so wrapped up in my writing sometimes that I lose track of time.

  1. What is your writing Kryptonite?

My writing Kryptonite is disorganization and procrastination.

  1. Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?

No. I like my name. It’s kind of different and I want people to get to know me as a writer under that name.

  1. What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?

Jerry Cowling is a published author who has helped me immensely when it comes to editing my books. Archie Scott is another writer. I can bounce ideas off him and he has a wealth of knowledge on many subjects which broadens my horizons.

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  1. Do you want each book to stand alone, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

Each book I’ve written has been in a different genre, so for the most part they stand alone. However, I am planning a sequel to my first book, so there will be a tie-in between the first book and the sequel.

  1. What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

Traveling to Europe, which became the inspiration for my third book.

  1. What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?

Having my parents help me write reports when I was in grade school and having them show me how to use my imagination to make the reports more interesting.

  1. What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?

“A Prayer for Owen Meany.” It’s not well-known, but it really moved me.

  1. As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?

An eagle because they soar high in the sky and symbolize freedom

  1. How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

Three

  1. What does literary success look like to you?

Having people appreciate and enjoy my work

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  1. What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

I haven’t really done any research for any of my books. My first two were based on interviews with people I met. My third book was based on my experiences traveling in Europe. 

  1. How many hours a day/week do you write?

On the average two-three hours a day.

  1. How do you select the names of your characters?

Only one of my books is fiction. I selected fairly common names that were similar to the names of the actual people I based the characters on. 

  1. What was your hardest scene to write?

Since all my books are either non-fiction or fiction based on actual experiences, I really haven’t had any difficult scenes to write because I didn’t have to really imagine the circumstances. They were actual events.

  1. Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre?  If you write more than one, how do you balance them?

I feel very comfortable writing non-fiction, but I am spreading my wings, so to speak, and branching out into fiction. I like the change of pace that fiction offers – the fact that I can use my imagination, so it’s not difficult to balance the different genres. 

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  1. How long have you been writing?

Since I was about 10 years old

  1. What inspires you?

People and events inspire me, especially people who have overcome odds and accomplished something. Events that have shaped our world also inspire me.   

  1. How do you find or make time to write?

I get up early in the morning and write while I’m fresh and don’t have any distractions.

  1. What projects are you working on at the present?

I’m working on a self-help book and also an historical novel.

  1. What do your plans for future projects include?

Finishing my self-help book and my novel and writing a cookbook. 

  1. Share a link to your author website.

I don’t have a website, but my Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/Sarah-J-Nachin-Author-273249936028795/

Also here is the link to my books on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=sarah+nachin

Bio:

Sarah J. Nachin is an author, freelance writer, speaker and blogger. Her most recent book is the “The Odyssey of Clyde the Camel” She has also published two non-fiction works. “Ordinary Heroes, Anecdotes of Veterans”relates stories of men and women who served in the military during five decades of conflict – World War II, Korea, Vietnam, and Desert Storm. “The Long Journey,” co-authored with Felicia McCranie, is an inspiring story of a woman who grew up in the Philippines, immigrated to the United States and overcame almost insurmountable obstacles. Sarah J. Nachin also writes for two weekly newspapers and a chamber of commerce magazines produced by Heron Publishing. She has two blogs. Sarah also works as an editor and proof reader, specializing in working with writers whose native language is not English. She is a public speaker, as well.

Author Interview – Eileen Cook


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Eileen Cook

  1. Does writing energize or exhaust you?

It depends on the day. In general, it energizes me. I’m fortunate that I’m not one of those people who feels tortured by my muse. I rarely pound my head on the keyboard in frustration- most of the time I recognize that my job is essentially making stuff up for living. That’s a pretty amazing and given that this is what I’ve always wanted to do, I’m grateful.  However, I’d be lying if I said it was all puppies, unicorns, and high word counts. There are days when the story doesn’t flow. The trick is to remember those days end.

 

  1. Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?

Never say never, but in general I enjoy having my books under my own name. Growing up I always dreamed of being a writer. As a kid (okay, I did this as an adult too) I used to go into bookstores or libraries, run my fingers along the shelf and when I found the spot where I would be shelved, I would shove the books on either side over just a tiny bit to make space for my future books. Now that I have something real to go on the shelf I love seeing it there where I always imagined it.

  1. What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

The best money I ever spent was when I started to go to the Surrey International Writer’s Conference (www.siwc.ca).  This was for three main reasons. First, they have great content with a mix of craft topics and information on publishing. Secondly, the chance to meet and interact with so many other writers was amazing. It was as if I’d finally found my people. Writing is such a solo thing- it was nice to be a part of a bigger group. Thirdly, it was the first real significant investment I made in my own writing career. It made me take myself more seriously. I became more committed to deadlines- if I was going to spend the money to go, then I had to follow through on what I learned.

 

  1. As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?

I want to have a spirit animal like a wolf or an owl, something mystical and wise. However, I suspect the truth is any spirit animal of mine is more like a scrappy terrier. I don’t give up easily- I’ve long believed that the difference between published authors and unpublished, is in part persistence. Like a small dog who is delusional as to how big they are- I have a habit of taking on larger challenges than I realized at the start. And at the end of the day, I like to snuggle up with a snack, a warm blanket and take a nap.

  1. How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

How high can you count? I had five full completed novels that I tried to sell prior to selling my first book.  I had, give or take, one zillion uncompleted projects. I still save everything- you never know when it might come in handy.

 

  1. What does literary success look like to you?

This is a changing goal post. For a period of time it was finishing a manuscript all the way to the end. Then finishing a manuscript that I was proud of.  Then it moved to selling a novel. Then to selling another, and now I want to continue to sell and grow my readership.

Ultimately, the best success is hearing from a reader who’s enjoyed my work. I write because I have a story I want to share. When someone connects with that story, it feels like the best win ever.

  1. What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

I’ll start by freely admitting that I love the research aspect of things. (Yes, I am slightly weird.) I usually spend 2-4 months outlining and preparing to write including doing research. I’ve interviewed everyone from police detectives to convicted con-artists. I learned how to read tarot cards and had a library do a search for me on various poison options. Thanks to book research, I now know that more people are killed by being crushed by a falling vending machine than by shark attacks. (It makes scoring that Diet Coke at lunch take on a whole new level of tension.) 

I do most of my research before starting to write, but if I hit a point in the manuscript where I don’t know something I put in a place marker (usually just a XXX) so I can find it easy in the revision process and worry about it later. The good news is that between librarians (superheroes IMHO), online research and the chance to speak to people about any number of topics- research is easier than ever. 

 

  1. How many hours a day/week do you write?

I love the idea of having a typical day, but unless you count me yelling at my dogs for barking at the back gate, it’s always hard to know what it will be like around here.  I do set weekly writing goals- where I block out time on my calendar. I find if it isn’t on my list then it doesn’t get done. I need to make writing a priority- the same as getting to the dentist or walking the dog. 

Until three years ago I was still working while writing. As a result, I did the bulk of my writing in the evenings and on weekends. Now that writing is my full-time job I’m able to write on my schedule and I find my most creative time is late morning through the afternoon.  When I’m not writing I spend time doing research for other books, marketing and also teaching. 

  1. Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre?  If you write more than one, how do you balance them?

There is a school of thought that you should build a brand in one genre, so readers know what to expect. So, if you write thrillers, keep writing thrillers.  Build a fan base and only then consider branching out. 

This advice makes a lot of sense, and I’ve never listened to it. I tend to write what I find interesting. I feel that if I’m passionate about a topic that will come through to the reader.  I enjoy experimenting because I love so many different genres. When I have a story idea I don’t want to be constrained that I can’t pursue it because it isn’t “my brand.”  When I got the idea for my book, With Malice, I worried that a thriller was too big of a jump from what I’d been doing. I wrote it anyway and it ended up becoming my break out book. 

I was once told at a conference- “You seem too nice to write about murder.” I think it was meant to be a compliment. I write mystery and thrillers because I enjoy reading those genres. I believe it’s easier to write in a genre that you read because you understand reader expectations and you have a sense if your idea is something new or fresh. I also enjoy the process of twisting reader expectations- leading them to believe the story is going one way and then taking it in an unexpected direction- while not cheating. 

 

  1. How long have you been writing?

It depends when you want to start the clock ticking. I always loved books and stories. My parents have a homework assignment I did in second grade where we were supposed to practice writing sentences and instead I strung mine together to make a story.  The teacher wrote on it: I’m sure someday you’ll be an author. This is proof that teachers are both inspiring and partly psychic.

The first time I can remember thinking that writing books was something I wanted to do was when I was eleven or twelve.  I’d gone to the library and picked up a book by Stephen King, Salem’s Lot.  The librarian tried to discourage me from reading it- declaring it too scary.  I remember being offended because I was a very mature kid and I understood the difference between make believe and real. I figured how scary could it be?  Turns out- really scary!  I slept with the light on for weeks. I thought it was amazing that this writer had made something up, something I knew was fiction, and yet it felt so real that I had a real emotional reaction.  That’s when I knew that is what I wanted to do. I wanted to create stories that made readers feel real emotions. There were years of filled notebooks, started novels, completed novels, a period of REALLY bad poetry and slowly over time I felt like I found my voice. I sold my first novel in late 2006 and it came out in 2008.

 

  1. What inspires you?  

I have no clue at times where ideas and inspiration will come from.  They pop into my head, a snippet of overheard conversation, something in the news, a discussion with a friend, an old photograph- you name it- they show up and slowly begin to morph into their own thing. I believe there are millions of ideas out there all the time. The trick is to pause long enough to hear them.  Then, when you do get one, spend some time trying to figure out if it is a good idea. Is it worth months (or years) of your time, hundreds of pages, and a reader’s attention?

It took me a long time to become more patient with ideas. I used to get them and then run to my computer to start writing as if I was afraid it was going to get away from me.  Now I slow down, turn the idea over in my head, ask a lot of “what if” questions. What would make this situation worse? What if this character didn’t know X or Y? What if this new thing suddenly happened? If I give ideas a bit of a chance to grow they evolve into much more interesting concepts.

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  1. What projects are you working on at the present?

To be honest I am always happiest when I have a project on the go. I love the process of making things up.  My current project is called YOU OWE ME A MURDER. It’s a bit of a homage to Patricia Highsmith’s Strangers on a Train (You may have seen the Hitchcock film.) A chance encounter on a flight to London England between two young women leads to murder.  The main character must determine how far she’ll go to get herself out of that situation.

  1. Share a link to your author website.

 https://www.eileencook.com  And you can always find me on Twitter (usually when I should be doing something else) https://twitter.com/Eileenwriter

Bio:

Eileen Cook is a multi-published author with her novels appearing in eight languages. Her books have been optioned for film and TV. She spent most of her teen years wishing she were someone else or somewhere else, which is great training for a writer. Her newest book, THE HANGING GIRL, came out in October 2017. She’s an instructor/mentor with the Simon Fraser University Writer’s Studio Program.

She grew up in a small town in Michigan, but would go on to live in Boston and Belgium before settling in Vancouver, Canada with her husband and two very naughty dogs.

In second grade Eileen’s teacher wrote on a homework assignment “I am sure someday you will be an author” which is a tribute to the psychic abilities of elementary school teachers, as well as Eileen penchant for making things up. While she would go on to fill endless notebooks with really bad poetry, short stories, and the occasional start to a novel, she would first go on to pursue a career as a counsellor working with individuals with catastrophic injuries and illness.

Eileen quickly discovered that the challenge of working with real people is that they have real problems and she returned to writing where she could make her characters do what she wanted. Her first novel was published in 2008. Entertainment Weekly called her novel WITH MALICE a “seriously creepy thriller” which pretty much made her entire year.

When not planning murder and mayhem on the computer, Eileen enjoys reading, knitting, yelling at her dogs to stop digging holes and watching hockey (which she is required to do as a new Canadian.)

 

 

Genre of Literature – Social Novel


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The social novel, is also known as the social problem (or social protest) novel, the sociological novel and is a work of fiction, which dramatizes a prevailing social problem through the effect they have on the novel’s characters. Topics covered can be as diverse as gender, race, or class prejudice although the narrative can also address poverty, conditions in factories or mines, violence against women, rising criminality and epidemics caused by poor sanitation or overcrowding in urban areas.

 

Other terms used to define this genre are thesis novel, propaganda novel, industrial novel, working-class novel and problem novel. A more recent development in this genre is the young adult problem novel.

Early examples can be found in 18th century England, as well as throughout Europe and the United States. Henry Fielding’s Amelia (1751) and William Godwin’s Things as The Are OR The Adventures of Caleb Williams (1794) are thought precursors of the genre. During the social and political upheavals following the Reform Act of 1833 in England social novels began, such as Charles Dickens’ novels highlighting poverty and unhealthy living conditions. Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables (1862) was a significant protest novel. Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852) dealt with anti-slavery and The Grapes of Wrath is probably the best known social protest novel.

How many social novels have you read?

Have you written one?

 

 

Author Interview Courtney Wendleton


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Courtney

1. Does writing energize or exhaust you? It depends on how I feel before I start writing. If I have been having problems writing anything for a couple of days, I’m apprehensive to sit and write. On those days, if I can actually get something out, I feel energized and go for hours. Then there are days where I’m full of energy and ready to write and come out a few hours later exhausted and having to put on wrist braces because the carpal tunnel sets in.  

2.What is your writing Kryptonite? Like a topic I won’t touch? Harming little children and elderly. Something that kills my writing would be Netflix. I get sucked into the black hole that is Asian TV/movies and it will be days before I write anything because I’m watching.

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3.Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym? Actually I have a book in the works that will be under a pseudonym because it contains a lot of personal information that my family probably wouldn’t appreciate me putting out there, but I feel like I need to write it and have others read it. Then there is another work in progress that I’m thinking about using a pseudonym for but not quite sure if I will or not.

4.What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer? I have many on Facebook through different writing groups, but Zoe Ambler has been the most influential and active in my writing. We just talk about our writings and give different points of view on different aspects of the work. Although recently I’m hoping to expand my tiny writing circle through a group I’m putting together where authors help each other out more than just posting advertisements. I’m trying to help authors that don’t necessarily have the money to pay an editor or don’t have any support and help them in a sort of exchange thing.

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5.Do you want each book to stand alone, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book? Most of my currently published are stand alones, but there are two that are part of a trilogy and one is becoming part of an unintentional series. For the most part, I just let the stories take me where they want to go and if that leads to a standalone or a series, I just go with it.

6.What was the best money you ever spent as a writer? I broke down and spent some money on two book covers. Until then I have always made my own and wanted to try having them professionally done. I think those are the best two book covers I have right now.

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7.What was an early experience where you learned that language had power? Since I was born my great-grandma read stories to me, then she taught me how to read at the age of three because while I was living with my great-grandparents and my mom, great-grandma thought I needed to be quiet. I’m not sure if I ever had that brilliant “A-ha” moment because it has always been there for me.

8.What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel? Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes. It is a sci-fi novel about a mentally challenged man and a mouse that undergo surgery to make them smarter. The surgery is a success and Charlie eventually surpasses the intelligence of the doctors that created and performed the procedure. As he became smarter, Charlie’s friendships break off because of his major attitude changes and eventually all he has left is his mouse. He finds a flaw in the research, and the result is Algernon, the mouse, goes back to his original state and dies. Knowing he will lose his mind, he tries to reconnect with friends and family, but decides to live at a state-sponsored institution where no one knows about his former intelligence. I loved the book because it shows a harsh reality of how people treat others that are different from themselves. Then it flips the coin and you can see how the change can twist a person into a shadow of their former selves. I think this is the first book that made me cry and really feel for the characters.

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9.As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal? A Pokémon called Ditto. Over the years I have felt my spirit animal change because of what is going on in my life at the time and how it effects my writing. With Ditto, it can change into any animal with the same characteristics but always revert back to a pink blob of potential.

10.How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have? *Laughs manically in a corner wearing a strait jacket* The last time I counted, it was at 47. However I have added more to that list, and put a couple in an “I’m not sure if I really want to do this but I’ll keep it just in case” pile. I’m crazy I know.

Authors Romance

11.What does literary success look like to you? I’m a simple girl when it comes to my idea of literary success. While it would be nice to be a big name like Stephen King or J.K. Rowling, I am happy with reviews from customers who enjoyed my books. I write because I have to get the words out, but nothing makes me feel like a big real world writer than when I read how much a person loved one of my books.

12.What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book? Aside from reading other stories inside the genre that are similar to what I’m working on, I do not do much research. I might look up how things work or certain types of devices I want to use or non-stereotypical attributes for characters to ensure I don’t make a mistake but mostly I write about what I know or invent in my imagination. That said, one of my favorite current works in progress is involving a lot of research into Japanese culture and history. I am looking on websites that are educational reference worthy, reading books about the culture and history, watching movies to figure out how their stories differ from Americans. I have even started to attempt learning to read/write Japanese and the Kanji.

Perfect Murder

13.How many hours a day/week do you write? I try to write a little bit every day and have set up spreadsheets to keep track of daily/weekly/monthly/yearly goals. Daily, this month, I’m just trying for 540 words a day. I have been trying to climb out of a slump and find smaller goals work better for me when this happens. Come July I would like to be back up to at least 2000 a day so I can feel confident going into Camp NaNoWriMo. Other than the goals, I do not mark how long I write daily because sometimes I don’t have the ability to sit and write for so long or I am sick and don’t feel like writing. Other days I can sit and write for four or five hours at a time.

Love & Drugs

14.How do you select the names of your characters? I love looking for new names. Sometimes the names just pop into my head and other times I search baby name websites and apps looking for the right name. Any time I find a name I like I write it down and add it to a running list on Excel for when I need help.

15.What was your hardest scene to write? The hardest scene I have written involves the book I plan to use a pseudonym for. It involves a taboo sexual experience between two characters and one does not know what they feel. They don’t know how they should feel about it because in one way the other person wasn’t supposed to do that to them, but they felt it was the only way to gain that person’s love. If they tell someone else it could either cause legal problems or mental issues because they wouldn’t be believed. This scene is based on a true event and because I’m still unsure how to feel it makes it hard to put it down on paper.

Revealed

16.Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre?  If you write more than one, how do you balance them? In the broad sense I write in the romance genre. It is just the one I latched on to based on the sheer number of them that I read. Inside that I write paranormal, LGBTQ, historical and I guess contemporary romance sub-genres. I try to write in the fields that I like, but at the same time those are the types of stories that just come to me. I kind of just write the book and figure out where it fits in the market afterwards.

17.How long have you been writing? Publication wise five years. I have been writing stories since I was like ten, but have lost many of those manuscripts through the multiple moves I made growing up.

18.What inspires you? Everything. I know it sounds like a copout, but I could be reading or watching a movie and get an idea. Watching my family interact with each other. Talking with friends or just watching people walking down the street and coming up with the type of life I think they live.   

19.How do you find or make time to write? I mostly write in the middle of the night. Aside from always have been a night owl, I live with my aunt and her two adult children. She works night shift and in the past year or so her youngest (21 or 22) has started having seizures in his sleep. So to keep me awake on the nights she works, I stay up writing and listening for him. I can’t really watch TV or listen to music because I need to be able to hear if my cousin has a seizure I need to be able to hear him so I can go help him. Plus it is one less thing to worry about if I have to call for an ambulance. On the days that she has off, I wake up in the afternoon and it is part of my wake up routine. I try to write a few hundred words before joining the rest of the family. Then I’m usually up most of the night and write more. Other than that I come up with ideas in the shower and write them down when I get out. Same while I’m driving and doing dishes. When I am doing something that can be done on “auto-pilot” my mind composes and I write it down soon after I’m done. I use a note app on my phone when I’m not near my computer.

20.What projects are you working on at the present? 2 Werewolf projects, a Japanese project, a Mermaid and a couple contemporary romance are a few of the most prominent.

21.What do your plans for future projects include? Because I am neck deep in works in progress, my future lies with whichever book idea comes to mind next.

22.Share a link to your author website. Website I need to update: http://charliesangel-0069.wixsite.com/cmwauthorpage

        Amazon website: https://www.amazon.com/Courtney-Wendleton/e/B00KYMLGKC/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

Blog: https://charliesangel0069.wordpress.com/

Bio:

Courtney M. Wendleton is a nation traveler, covering mostly the Midwest. She has lived in Alaska and currently resides in Hawaii, after graduating from high school in Missouri. Since a child of 10, Courtney has wanted to travel and write stories. She has been traveling her whole life, and writing since childhood but only two years ago did she publish her first book.

Touchdown Interruption is her first short story, and has paved the way for six other books currently on the market with more in the works. Courtney toils through her day reading, writing, and striving to be a better author.

A near death experience during her time in Alaska proved to her that life is short and she needs to spend her time doing something she loves. It took three years for her to build up the courage, but she published her first book and started going to school again. Now she happily lives in Hawaii with family, still hoping to inspire her readers to chase their dreams.